Find tips to oversee the work of volunteers and practical suggestions to supervise them. Everything from ideas to help you work more efficiently to the latest in research on keeping volunteers happy and productive.

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~ November 2002 ~ Topics

Record Those Volunteer Hours

"My call tonight is for every American to commit at least two years -
4000 hours over the rest of your lifetime to the service of your neighbors and your nation."
~ George W. Bush ~

With those words the President launched an ever growing campaign to get people to volunteer. And it is aided by a Web site where volunteers can record their hours. This is information to be passed along to volunteers whether they serve on the Board of Directors or Advisory Group to those one time volunteers at fund raising events. To record their service volunteers go to

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The Coming "Boom"

The baby "boom" generation is not going to volunteer in the same manner as earlier generations or retirees. There is ample evidence to indicate that attracting "boomers" to volunteer when they retire will require new efforts. A recent article by Mary Merrill in the AVA Member Briefing newsletter provided a glimpse of what to expect. (To learn more visit Merrrill's Web site at

Baby boomers:

Believe they have more choices than volunteering
Like the idea of learning new skills and tackling new challenges through educational improvement
Seem likely to stay in the communities where they live and work, rather than a retirement community.
Want options - flexibility, choices. This means organization must build a volunteer position to an individual
Will respond to electronic means of recruiting, training, educating, managing, and those that them make national and international connections
Want clarity about such things as expectations, time, tasks, and required training
Are likely to respond to an Appeal that volunteers make a difference in the local community and with local problems.

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Choosing a Committee Member

In the volunteer world people often get on committees by raising their hand and saying, "Oh, I'll help." And therein lies the rub! Sometimes the fates are with the chair and everyone works hard and amiably and other times the committee falls apart and everyone goes away mad. There is another way. Starting today committees are formed with a plan and intentionally.

Intentional Plan: Examples:
Begin by listing the various tasks the group needs to complete it mission or duties. -data assessment, planning, evaluation and assessment, program planning, raising resources, etc.
Write guidelines with dates for completion of projects -complete needs assessment survey January 2003
-complete data analysis and report March 2003

Write out a list of potential committee members double the size of the number actually needed. Match each person to the task list to determine if the individuals selected possess the skills needed. Revise the list if there are committee tasks where no members has experience.
Prioritize those to be asked to serve
Meet with those on the list in priority order who might have an interest in serving. Ask them what they hope to gain from serving and what they will bring to the group.

    Sample Questions:
At the first meeting ask group members to recall the high and low of working with committees from their past experience. From the items develop a list of "rubrics" the group will follow as it proceeds -What went right in groups in which you were involved in the past
- What went wrong in groups in which you were involved in the past?
At the first meeting ask the members to determine how they would like to contribute? Encourage them to be specific.  

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Washington State University offers a Volunteer Management Certification Program through the Internet. Individuals around the world can earn a certificate in managing or coordinating volunteers, without leaving home.

For more information, visit Volunteer Today's Portal site, Internet Resources. Look for the Washington State University listing. There is a hot link to their Web site.


The National Association of Volunteer Programs in Local Government (NAVPLG) is an association of administrators, coordinators and directors of volunteer programs in local government. Its purpose is to strengthen volunteer programs in local government through leadership, advocacy, networking and information exchange. NAAVPLG is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties and is seeking affiliate status with the National League of Cities.

Cost is $20 for individuals and $75 for group local government membership. An affiliate membership is $25 and is intended for those who are not local government members but may have an interest in the group. There is a quarterly newsletter, national network, and access to NACo's Volunteerism Project.

For more information contact Glenis Chapin, who is a member of the Executive Committee. She can be reached by phone at 503-588-7990. Be sure to mention you read about this in Volunteer Today.

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